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8 Facts About Dog Breeds Backed By Science

8 Facts About Dog Breeds Backed By Science

“A dog has the soul of a philosopher.” – Plato

Are you one of the 70% of people who sign their pet dog’s name on greeting cards? No need to confess, just read on! Did you know that three dogs actually survived the Titanic? They were a Newfoundland, a Pomeranian and a Pekingese. I do not know what was in their genetic makeup which helped them do that. Maybe they were just lucky.

So, are dog breeds all different? What role does genetics, training and the dog’s own personality play in determining whether they are indeed man’s best friend? Let us look at 8 facts which are backed by science which will help us understand this better.

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1. Belgian shepherd dogs can sniff out cancer and other diseases

It is generally known that dogs have an extremely acute sense of smell, about 100,000 times sharper than ours. Scientific studies have been done on the Belgian shepherd dogs (the Malinois) which have shown that they can detect prostate cancer in men. These dogs were able to correctly detect the cancer by sniffing urine samples.

Apparently cancer cells leave a particular odor which these dogs can pick up, after training. They got 63 out of 66 right! These studies were conducted by a French researcher and were presented at a conference organized by the American Urological Association.

2. Border collies, poodles and German shepherds are the most intelligent dogs

If you ever wanted a really intelligent dog as a pet, choose one of the above. These dogs are actually as clever as a two year child and they can process up to 165 different gestures, movements and words. Not bad for a dog. The Afghan hound comes at the bottom of the list as being pretty dumb. These findings were the result of research carried out by a canine researcher, Dr. Stanley Coren, of the University of British Columbia.

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3. There’s selective breeding for tailor made dogs

Consumer tastes and dog breeders have collaborated in producing dog breeds which meet market demands. This is why we have hunting dogs, sociable dogs and guard dogs. The only problem here is that the inbreeding leads to many dogs having typical diseases which are now very hard to eliminate.

Golden retrievers are more liable to get cancer while King Charles spaniels may have more heart diseases. Experts say that pugs could be bred to have larger muzzles so that they do not suffer from respiratory diseases, like they do now.

4. A special dog breed is supposed to help autistic children

A cross breed of the golden retriever and poodle (the golden doodle) is now being bred to help children with autism (ASD). They have been incredibly successful in that the kids’ sleeping patterns and general behavior have improved by leaps and bounds. This new breed of dog combines the star qualities of both in that they are friendly, patient, loyal and above all forgiving when the kids give them a rough time. These dogs have enriched the lives of autistic children and helped them to lead more normal lives.

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5. Chocolate can kill a dog

Chocolate can make your dog very sick or even kill him or her. An 8 lb. pound poodle was fed one pound of chocolate on her birthday and nearly died. If you feed a golden retriever who weighs about 60 pounds with a bag of Hershey kisses, then the effects will be much less severe. The problem is that chocolate contains theobromine which is toxic for dogs. Another bad idea is to feed a dog with apple or pear seeds as these contain arsenic which can also be fatal for dogs.

6. The Newfoundland is the best swimmer

This breed of dog is known for its webbed feet and strong swimming skills. It is no surprise to learn that it was first used to help fisherman in Newfoundland to pull in their nets and also in helping to haul back wood from the forests. They have a double waterproof coat which helps them survive in icy waters. They are strong, loving, courageous, and loyal. They make great guard dogs, too. The only problem is that they adore water and mud which can make them a difficult home pet.

7. Moscow stray dogs

These 35,000 feral dogs are famous for many reasons. One is that they have become much smarter at getting people to drop their snacks just bought at the food kiosks. They sneak up and bark at the customer who, startled, drops it and the dog gobbles it up. This is known as “the hunt for shawarma”.

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Another incredible thing is that these dogs have become adept at travelling on the subway to get from one part of the city to the other. They seem to possess an inbuilt sense of timing to know when to get off at the right metro stop! They are also better behaved on the metro than they are on the streets when hunting down food. Biologists, such as Andrei Poyarkov, who have studied these dogs noticed that they have learned how to cross streets by using the traffic lights. They have also adapted to the continually evolving Russian capital.

8. Dogs who look like wolfs live longer

Generally, dogs live about 15 years but this does vary according to the size and face features of whichever breed we are talking about. Bulldogs and pugs who have flat muzzles tend to live shorter lives. Those who look more like their wolf ancestors with sharp, pointed features will live longer. This is just one of the fun facts mentioned in Planet Dog: A Doglopedia by Sandra and Harry Choron. The longest living dog was a Queensland Heeler called Bluey who lived to the ripe old age of 29 years and 5 months.

Do you have any fun facts about dog breeds to pass on?

Featured photo credit: Spoosquatch/ Perry McKenna via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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